Christmas in COVID

On any normal year, Christmas is a favorite holiday for many people. It is a time to gather with family, share food and celebrate the holidays. But 2020 is far from normal and most people are not able to celebrate their usual Christmas gatherings with their grandparents and other extended family.

From college kids to military families, elderly relatives to frontline workers, there are many people that are not able to see family members during the holidays. One student who has been affected by COVID-19 during this holiday season is senior Jacob Thompson. He is going to be focusing on immediate family this year but will be missing one special person this Christmas.

“This year we are going to be missing my brother for Christmas because he’s joining the navy and so he’ll be all quarantined with them,” said Thompson.

There are many people who respect and follow the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines and do not plan on gathering this year, but there are also many people out there who dismiss regulations and celebrate as they have traditionally. Thompson agrees with the idea the holidays could cause a rise in cases. He has his own ideas about what would be best for people to do this holiday season if they choose to travel and see family.

“I think if we were all being safe about it then it would be fine, but I think too many people dismiss COVID-19 so they’re just not going to take the precautions,” he said. “I mean the easiest thing we could all do is just take two weeks before Christmas to social distance and quarantine and then when we come to all of our families we wouldn’t give them COVID-19.”

One other thing small-town locals have run into is not being able to travel for traditional Christmas shopping. Coos Bay has many local businesses, but as a small area it still offers limited shopping opportunities. People this year have had to choose to either shop local or order online with hopes of it being here on time. COVID-19 has changed and affected nearly every aspect of Christmas this year, whether it is shopping, mail delays, quarantining away from family or not being able to celebrate with that special person.

Like many, MHS senior Jolene Lee says she as well plans on keeping it very small this Christmas. She plans to focus on home-centered traditions and spending time with immediate family.

“Just keeping it very small with people who are in my house basically,” said Lee.

Those still choosing to travel for holidays to visit family will increase tourism, but also increase the capacity to raise COVID-19 cases in Coos County. The most practical thing to do this holiday season, and any time during this pandemic, is to only celebrate with the people that live in your house or that are in your small inner circle.